3 July 2019

Perfect Match 360°: Artificial intelligence to find the perfect donor match

By the Editorial Comitee IVI Blog

Egg donation or the use of sperm from a sperm donor has long been successful fertility techniques. These are often but not exclusively used by people for whom other interventions have not been successful. In the past, major concerns about these techniques have been the health of the resulting offspring and the extent to which he or she will resemble the parents. IVI, one of the leading European fertility centres with the best pregnancy rates, has come up with a revolutionary method. One of its key elements is to make use of artificial intelligence biometric techniques more often associated with identification and security.

The new biometric techniques come in addition to other methods for matching genetic compatibility and phenotypic matching. The result is a system, offered free of charge to all IVI patients, which is the most advanced in matching oocyte or sperm donor to the patient, ensuring the maximum achievable similarity. This is Perfect Match 360°.


What are the success rates for conception using egg donation or a sperm donor?

For years, even before the introduction of the new Perfect Match 360° technique, IVI has had one of the largest banks of ovules and semen in the world and we have experienced high success rates. From 2014 to 2018, our clinics in Spain completed over 30,000 assisted reproduction cycles using donated eggs plus almost a further 10,000 with donated semen. This equates to 28% of the total cycles being represented by egg donation and 9% by semen donation. Taken together, this constitutes over a third of all IVF interventions carried out by IVI clinics in Spain, so it is a large and increasing part of the world of assisted reproduction treatments.

The success rate for pregnancy after the third attempt of IVF with a donor is currently 97.52%. In 2018, IVI patient numbers receiving donor treatment saw a 20% increase to over 6,300 patients compared with the 2014 level. In addition, the number of IVF cycles using donated semen has increased by 15% over the past five years, rising to 2,100 cycles in 2018 in IVI clinics in Spain.

It is clear from these impressive results that success rates are high, but the new breakthrough in matching donor to patient is more about increasing patient confidence and offering additional assurance and peace of mind than it is about improving success rates.


How does the new Perfect Match 360° technique work?

To achieve the best match possible between the two sides of the equation, IVI incorporates IVI Biometric Scan. This is a similarity study that uses an algorithm-driven 3D facial recognition software system with the assistance of artificial intelligence. This facial resemblance study makes it possible to sift through results of similarity comparisons in the blink of an eye, producing better results than those achieved by visual inspection alone. The software places a facial image into a formula which examines 12.000 different facial points of reference to rank the similarity levels between the patient and potential donors to find the best match. The service is free for all IVI patients, and complements the two other screening and matching techniques we use at IVI. Together, the three make up the entire Perfect Match 360° approach.

If you would like to see the full account of how our programme works, you can read about Perfect Match 360° as well as other treatments and success statistics on our website.


What are the other methods used for egg and sperm donor matching?

The other aspects of donor matching are advanced and sophisticated routines which aim to ensure the best possible match between egg or sperm donor and the relevant patient. The first, genetic matching, is to do with ensuring genetic compatibility and avoiding any inheritable medical conditions or genetic abnormalities. The second relates to matching phenotypes.


Genetic matching

Naturally, we need to consider more than just visible physical characteristics and facial similarities when matching donor to patient. Under the genetic matching aspect of the Perfect Match360° technology, we need a genetic analysis to maximise our patients’ chances of becoming pregnant, as well as to prevent any potential problems.

We do this by performing a Compatibility Genetic Test (CGT) on all our egg donors. This test enables us to detect the presence of genes likely to cause one of a possible 600 genetic diseases. In the case of semen donation, the donor also undergoes the CGT test, which protects the baby from having any of the identified illnesses. Additionally, in the case of heterosexual couples using a donor egg and the male partner’s semen, the man can undergo the same test to compare results with the egg donor and make sure they are genetically compatible.


Phenotypic characteristics

As part of the search for the best possible matching donor, we take physical characteristics into account. These include ethnicity, hair and eye colour, height and physical build. The fact that IVI has one of the world’s most extensive banks of eggs means that we can cater for a wide range of phenotypically distinct patients. We also consider other factors such as Rh compatibility and blood type.


Who are the beneficiaries of Perfect Match 360°?

The main reasons patients choose to access our egg donation programme are advancing age, low oocyte quality or ovarian failure, which could also be due to medical complications. Many patients also opt for this service as a result of failure to achieve a pregnancy after several cycles of IVF or numerous abortions. In the case of sperm donation, for heterosexual couples the need could arise because of male infertility and it is also widely used by single women and lesbian couples.


Contact us at IVI

If you would like to arrange an appointment or discuss any matter related to your fertility concerns, do get in touch. You can reach us through our online contact form and a specialist adviser will get back to you. Alternatively, give us a call on +34 960 451 185 from outside the UK, or on 08 000 850 035 from the UK.

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